Keeping Bloodhounds On the Scent of Missing Kids

By Christina Elston

special needs - find'em scent kit

Bloodhound expert Coby Webb, pictured here with her business partner and fellow bloodhound handler Travis Shows, created Find’em Scent Kits to help save valuable time in tracking missing persons. PHOTO COURTESY COBY WEBB

Around half of all children on the autism spectrum will wander toward something that interests them, or bolt away from something that is bothersome. And because they have little sense of danger, this wandering can take them away from their caregivers and into unsafe situations.

These children often go missing, and according to the National Autism Association, children ages 9 and younger with autism who wander off are killed 42 percent of the time.

Time was on the mind of Coby Webb, D.M., when she created the Find’em Scent Kit. Webb is a lieutenant for a Southern California law enforcement agency and the mother of 9-year-old twins – and an instructor with the National Police Bloodhound Association. One of her biggest frustrations when children go missing is finding an uncontaminated item with the child’s scent that her bloodhounds can use to track the child.

At crime scenes, items are handled carefully, meaning a suspect’s scent is usually preserved. But a child’s belongings at home are handled by the whole family. “I do the laundry at my house, and my scent is on everything,” Webb explains, adding that time is often lost searching for an object with only the missing child’s scent. “When it’s a missing child, time is of the essence. It doesn’t matter how great my dog is. If I don’t have a scent item, she has nothing to track.”

Find’em Scent Kits are designed to save time by allowing families to store uncontaminated scent samples. They include scent pads, clear instructions for best spots (such as the armpit or back of the neck) to collect a scent sample, gloves to use in sample collecting and a tamper-evident plastic bag and box for storage. Kept in the freezer, the scent will last a year.

“If your child goes missing, you call 9-1-1 and you hand them the kit,” says Webb.

Find’em Scent Kits cost $19.95, and are available at

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